Don't Wait To Begin Treatment
We like to have fun and think you should be able to have fun with your braces, too. We offer fun shaped braces called Wildsmiles and even have Gator shaped braces for our budding sports enthusiasts!
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends visiting the orthodontist around age seven. By this age, most children have a mix of baby teeth and adult teeth, making it easier to diagnose and correct tooth and jaw problems sooner and without surgery.
Early Treatment Through Braces
Many children do NOT need early treatment, but there are some that REALLY do! By seeing all children close to the age of seven, we are able to catch the ones who really need orthodontic intervention before the problem gets worse and more difficult to correct.
If a child does need early treatment (or what many orthodontists call Phase I) to correct immediate problems, he or she may still need full braces again when all permanent teeth erupt. The 2nd time in braces, however, should go much smoother, quicker and be less invasive (hopefully avoiding surgery or extractions).
If no treatment is needed at this time, our younger patients don't have to miss out on all the fun. They become members of our Kids Crew and will still be seen periodically for evaluation and monitoring.
Goals of Early Treatment
- Correct and guide the growth of your child's jaw to help the permanent teeth come in straight
- Regulate the width of the upper and lower arches
- Create more space for crowded teeth
- Avoid the need for permanent tooth extractions later in life
- Correct thumb sucking and help improve minor speech problems
For parents, it's not always easy to know if your child may need orthodontic treatment. Please contact our practice to schedule an appointment for a free comprehensive orthodontic evaluation. Early treatment now can help give your child a healthy, beautiful smile for the future.
Benefits Of Orthodontics For Children
If your child’s regular dentist recommends an orthodontic evaluation, it doesn’t automatically mean there is a problem. An evaluation lets Gainesville orthodontist Dr. Mullally examine the mouth for jaw and tooth issues, such as misalignment, or to determine if an issue may develop later on. This opens the door for your child to enjoy years of good oral health through the many benefits provided by orthodontics, such as:
- Correcting behavioral habits, including tongue thrusting;
- Eliminating bite issues that can cause discomfort and affect chewing;
- Lower the risk of broken and/or chipped teeth;
- Improved self-confidence; and
- Avoid more invasive dental treatment in the future.
Two-Phase Orthodontic Treatment For Kids
Dr. Mullally times all treatments around your child’s oral development and growth for a complementary relationship.
Phase 1 Treatment
Commonly called interceptive orthodontics for children, Phase 1 is generally recommended when a dentist or orthodontist detects or discovers particular dental irregularities. The goal of treatment at this stage is to address jaw and bite issues that may develop as the child grows. Corrective measures performed during Phase 1 also:
- Guide jaw development and growth;
- Steer permanent teeth to an appropriate position; and
- Reduce potential damage to protruding teeth.
The phases are divided by a one- to two-year resting period where Dr. Mullally, a Gainesville orthodontist, allows the child’s mouth to develop naturally. Remaining permanent teeth will also emerge during this time. Development and growth are monitored through regular appointments at Studio32 Orthodontics.
Phase 2 Treatment
Phase 2 begins once all permanent teeth have emerged. Kids braces may be put on the upper and/or lower teeth, depending on the child’s dental needs. The time required to wear the braces is generally shorter in Phase 2. This phase also helps the child avoid tooth extractions and surgery that are sometimes necessary without intervention.
Conditions That May Require Early Orthodontic Treatment
The majority of dental conditions that need orthodontic treatment, such as braces for kids in Gainesville, are found during a comprehensive evaluation. If a condition is discovered, Dr. Mullally will explain the condition along with how braces and other orthodontia can correct an issue.
An open bite occurs when the upper and lower front teeth slant outward and are unable to touch when the mouth closes. This type of malocclusion is caused by pacifier or thumb sucking, tongue thrusting, temporomandibular joint disorder, and a skeletal issue.
A deep bite occurs when the upper front teeth nearly cover the lower front teeth. This misalignment affects the health and soundness of the jaw joints, upper gums, and back teeth. It’s considered a serious issue and should be treated by an orthodontist in Gainesville, FL, as soon as possible.
Children with a crossbite have upper teeth that rest inside instead of slightly outside the lower teeth. If left untreated, a crossbite can cause teeth to chip and/or wear down along with receding gums.
Crowding & Spacing Issues
Crowded teeth are teeth that emerge without enough space and are displaced and/or twisted as a result. Usually, there is a size difference in the jaw-tooth relationship and can be related to premature or late loss of primary teeth. Treatment is necessary to prevent gum disease, tooth decay, and ensure appropriate oral function.
When a spacing issue develops, a gap or space forms between teeth. It can have many causes, such as smaller teeth, impacted teeth, or protruding teeth. Space exposes the gums and increases the risk of gum disease and insufficient brushing and flossing.
A rare and serious condition, ankylosed teeth occur when the tooth root fuses with the jaw bone. This fusion affects jaw development and growth along with blood circulation in nearby blood vessels. If the condition occurs in a primary tooth, it can displace an erupting permanent tooth, resulting in impaction.